The benefits of keeping a Work Journal

One of the best ways to make sure you’re regularlyreflecting on your career is by keeping a work journal.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “The Powerof Small Wins,” Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer discuss the concept ofwhat they’ve termed the “power principle”. The authors asked professionals tokeep diaries at work and, after studying these diaries, they identified thepower principle, which states:

“Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, andperceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress inmeaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense ofprogress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the longrun.”

The authors wrote about how managers could effectively usework journals and the power principle to motivate employees, but I think thatyou can use their findings to motivate yourself by making sure that you’reregularly reflecting and celebrating your progress and small wins at work.

Keeping a daily journal on office life and career progress is imperative to keeping track of just that.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Sitting down and staring at a blank page at the end of a long workday can seem like just another thing to cross off of your to-do list, unless you come prepared. Instead, it may be helpful to write the answers to these five questions daily (or weekly,if you prefer):

What is one lesson (or lessons, if you have many!) that I learned today?

Did anyone compliment or comment on my work today? What did they say? (Bonus: This makes it easier to remember your accomplishments when you want to ask for a raise or promotion!)

What is one big thing that I accomplished today?

Did I do anything above and beyond my basic job description today?

What is one way that I can go above and beyond tomorrow?

Even if you can only fit this in once a week, this exercise will help you reflect, focus, and consider the big picture of your career.